# Role Based Access Controls

# Overview

Experts recommend following a practice known as Defense in Depth where security controls are placed in each layer of an architecture. This tutorial guides you through adding access controls to your existing Entando project, in both the frontend and backend of your Entando Application.

The simple Conference application found in the Generate Microservices and Micro Frontends tutorial is used as a starting point. We recommend working through that tutorial for background and context.

The basic security setup for a blueprint-generated application allows any authenticated user to access the functionality contained in the MFEs and/or microservices. This tutorial defines two user roles for our application:

  • conference-user: Permitted to view the Conferences in the tableWidget
  • conference-admin: Permitted to view Conferences in the tableWidget, and also to delete Conferences from the tableWidget

# Apply and Verify Access Controls

# Step 1: Secure the Conference list

The list of Conferences must be visible to only the conference-user and conference-admin user roles.

  1. Go to the src/main/java/com/YOUR-ORG/YOUR-NAME/web/rest directory
  2. Open ConferenceResource.java
  3. Add the following to the list of imports:
    import org.springframework.security.access.prepost.PreAuthorize;
  1. Modify the REST API Conference:getAllConferences method by preceding it with the @PreAuthorize annotation. Your method signature may be different depending on your blueprint selections.

    public List<Conference> getAllConferences()

This confines use of the getAllConferences method to users who are assigned either the conference-user or the conference-admin role on the Keycloak client configured for the microservice.

Note: In local testing, the default client is internal. Refer to the Spring Security documentation (opens new window) for more information.

We also need to modify the blueprint JWT handling to deal with a recent change to the Spring libraries.

  1. Edit src/main/java/com/mycompany/myapp/config/SecurityConfiguration.java and make two changes.
  • Add this code after the other @Value fields
private String clientId;
  • Modify the following call in the authenticationConverter method to provide the clientId field
jwtAuthenticationConverter.setJwtGrantedAuthoritiesConverter(new JwtGrantedAuthorityConverter(clientId));
  1. Now modify
    src/main/java/com/mycompany/myapp/security/oauth2/JwtGrantedAuthorityConverter.java to accept the clientId. Three changes are required.
  • Remove the @Component annotation on the class definition

public class JwtGrantedAuthorityConverter implements Converter<Jwt, Collection<GrantedAuthority>> {
  • Remove the @Value annotation on the clientId field

private String clientId;
  • Modify the constructor to accept the clientId
    public JwtGrantedAuthorityConverter(String clientId) {
        this.clientId = clientId;

# Step 2: Run your project in a local developer environment

The following commands must be run from your project directory. They leverage the ent CLI.

Note: Refer to the Run Blueprint-generated Microservices and Micro Frontends in Dev Mode tutorial for details.

  1. Start up your Keycloak instance
ent prj ext-keycloak start
  1. Start the microservice in another shell
ent prj be-test-run
  1. Start the tableWidget MFE in a third shell
ent prj fe-test-run
  1. When prompted to select a widget to run, choose the option corresponding to the tableWidget, e.g. ui/widgets/conference/tableWidget

# Step 3: Access the tableWidget MFE

  1. In your browser, go to http://localhost:3000 (opens new window). This is typically the location of the tableWidget MFE.
  2. Access the tableWidget MFE with the default credentials of username: admin, password: admin

Note: Once authenticated, the message "No conferences are available" is generated. If you check your browser console, you should see a 403 (Forbidden) error for the request made to localhost:8080/services/conference/api/conferences. This is expected because the admin user has not yet been granted the new role.

# Step 4: Login to Keycloak

  1. Go to http://localhost:9080 (opens new window)
  2. Login using the the default credentials of username: admin, password: admin

# Step 5: Create the conference-user and conference-admin roles

Add the conference-user and conference-admin roles to the internal client.

  1. Go to ClientsinternalRoles
  2. Click Add Role
  3. Fill in the Role Name with conference-admin
  4. Click Save
  5. Repeat these steps to create the conference-user role

Note: The internal client is configured by default in the Spring Boot application.yml.

# Step 6: Map the conference-user role to the admin user

To grant access to the getAllConferences API:

  1. Go to UsersView all usersadminRole Mappings
  2. Select internal for the Client Roles
  3. Move conference-user from Available Roles to Assigned Roles
  4. Return to the MFE to confirm you see the full list of Conferences

# Step 7: Restrict the ability to delete Conferences

The conference-admin role should grant a user permission to delete Conferences. To restrict the delete method to the conference-admin role:

  1. Go to the src/main/java/com/YOUR-ORG/YOUR-NAME/web/rest directory
  2. Open ConferenceResource.java
  3. Modify the deleteConference method by preceding it with the following annotation:

    public ResponseEntity<Void> deleteConference(@PathVariable Long id)

To verify that a user without the conference-admin role is unable to call the delete API:

  1. Restart the microservice. By default this includes rebuilding any changed source files.
  2. Once the microservice is available, return to the MFE and try deleting one of the Conferences in the list
  3. Verify that attempting to delete via the UI generates a 403 error in the browser console and an error in the service logs similar to the following:
WARN 3208 --- [  XNIO-1 task-3] o.z.problem.spring.common.AdviceTraits   : Forbidden: Access is denied

# Step 8: Hide the delete button

The MFE UI can be updated to hide the delete button from a user without the conference-admin authority. The key logic checks whether the internal client role conference-admin is mapped to the current user via the hasResourceRole call.

  1. Go to the ui/widgets/conference/tableWidget/src/components directory
  2. Open ConferenceTableContainer.js
  3. Replace the onDelete logic with an additional user permission:
    const isAdmin = (keycloak && keycloak.authenticated) ? keycloak.hasResourceRole("conference-admin", "internal"): false;
    const showDelete = onDelete && isAdmin;

    const Actions = ({ item }) =>
      showDelete ? (
  1. Confirm that the delete icon is no longer visible in the MFE. The MFE should have automatically reloaded to reflect the code changes.

# Step 9: Grant and verify delete permissions

Promote the admin user to a full conference-admin to reinstate the ability to delete Conferences.

  1. Return to Keycloak at http://localhost:9080 (opens new window)
  2. Go to UsersView all usersadminRole Mappings
  3. Give the user the conference-admin role
  4. Reload the MFE
  5. Confirm the delete icon is visible
  6. Confirm a Conference can be successfully deleted from the list

# Notes

# Realm Roles versus Client Authorities

This tutorial utilizes authorities. In Keycloak, authorities are roles mapped to a user for a specific client. It is possible to assign higher-level Realm Roles directly to users, e.g. ROLE_ADMIN, but this can result in collisions between applications using the same roles.

To implement Realm-assigned roles, the code above must be modified:

  • In the backend, use the annotation @Secured('ROLE_ADMIN) or @PreAuthorize(hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN'))
  • In the frontend, use keycloak.hasRealmRole instead of keycloak.hasResourceRole

See the Spring Security page (opens new window) for more examples.

# Local vs. Kubernetes Testing

This tutorial leverages the internal client, which is configured in the microservice via the application.yml. Client roles are manually created and assigned in Keycloak.

In Kubernetes, Entando will automatically create client roles per the bundle plugin definition (see the plugin definition for more information). These roles are created for the client specific to the microservice, e.g. <docker username>-conference-server. The client name is injected as an environment variable into the plugin container, so the annotations noted above will work in both local and Kubernetes environments.

# Modify Security Checks for Kubernetes

In this tutorial, the MFE authorization checks explicitly note the client ID, e.g. internal. The following options modify the checks to work in Kubernetes:

  1. Change the application.yml client ID under security.oauth2.client.registration.oidc to match the Kubernetes client ID.

    This is the most secure option and allows the MFE checks to work identically in both local and Kubernetes environments. However, you may not be be able to use the same clientId, depending on how the microservice is deployed.

  2. Broaden the MFE authorization check to look for a named role on any client.

    This could result in overlap with other clients, but this is the most flexible option when using appropriately named roles (e.g. with a bundle or feature prefix like conference- in conference-admin). It can be achieved via a helper function, e.g. api/helpers.js, and results in a simpler role check:

// Add helper function
// Check if the authenticated user has the clientRole for any Keycloak clients
export const hasKeycloakClientRole = clientRole => {
  if (getKeycloakToken()) {
    const { resourceAccess } = window.entando.keycloak;
    if (resourceAccess) {
      for (const client in resourceAccess) {
        // eslint-disable-line no-unused-vars
        const roles = resourceAccess[client].roles;
        if (roles && roles.includes(clientRole)) {
          return true;
  return false;

// Perform role check
const isAdmin = hasKeycloakClientRole('conference-admin');

# Troubleshooting

In both local and Kubernetes environments, the default Blueprint Javascript provides a global variable in the browser, e.g. window.entando.keycloak. Examining this variable can help diagnose issues with assigned roles and authorities. In some cases, you may need to logout of Entando and reauthenticate for the latest role assignments to be applied.